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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, February 8, 2008

Herrera earns spot on WAC softball squad

Former Pecos Eagles softball player Stephanie Herrera has been selected to the preseason All-Western Athletic Conference Softball team, as she enters her senior season at the New Mexico State University.

Herrera, who played for Pecos as a shortstop and pitcher from 2001 to 2004, earned the honor after leading New Mexico State with a .371 batting average last season. That included 31 runs scored, 16 RBI and19 stolen bases in 25 attempts, second in the WAC last season.

Herrera’s .371 average for the Aggies also included a 19-game hitting streak, fourth best in the nation last season, and 17 multi-hit games, including a four-hit game against St. Mary’s in March of 2007, which tied an Aggies record.

“This is such an honor for Steph, to be recognized by the coaches and the conference,” head coach Kathy Randolph said. “She has had a lot of experience and is going to be a key to our success.”

Pecos qualified for the playoffs three times in four seasons while Herrera was a team member. They won the District 2-4A title in 2001 and 2002, and advanced to the Region I-3A quarterfinals in her senior year in 2004.

NMSU was picked to finish in the middle of the seven-team WAC for the 2008 season, and Herrera was the lone preseason All-WAC selection for the Aggies. New Mexico State opens its 2008 season on Friday against Texas A&M at the Cathedral City Kick Off Classic, in Palm Springs, Calif.

PHS golfers get 9th in openers, JVs capture tourney

The Pecos Eagle golf teams picked up first place finishes on Monday in junior varsity tournament play in Alpine, after opening their 2008 spring seasons this past weekend with ninth place finishes in tournament action in Monahans and San Angelo.

Pecos’ boys shot a 362 score to win first in Alpine, after finishing ninth in Monahans. Pecos shot 348-344-692 for 36 holes there in a tournament won by Andrews with a 649 score. Pecos’ girls shot a 423 in their win at Alpine, after shooting a 427-360-787 in the Blue Division of the San Angelo Girls Classic. Andrews also won that division with a 643 total, while District 2-3A rival Monahans was third, with a 714 score.

“It was a harder course on Friday, but that’s still not an excuse for all of them shooting in the 100s. My seniors especially ought to be able to manage themselves and get up and down the course,” said Eagles’ coach Tina Doan. “They just need to relax an take what the course gives them.”

Carolina Briones and Rica Pino both shot 194s over the two days, Briones with a 106 on Friday and an 89 on Saturday and Pino with 109 and 85 scores. Also dropping her scores sharply was Kayla Natividad, who had a 112-90-202, while Tatum Windham shot a 103-97-200 and Ari Alligood shot a 109-105-214.

Pecos’ boys also trailed the Loboes, as well as their other 2-3A golf rival, Fort Stockton, in the Sandhills Tournament at the Ward County Golf Course. Monahans shot a 343-332-675 to place fifth, while Fort Stockton was two shots back in sixth place with a 339-339-677 score.

“We’ve got to get down into the 320s to compete against Monahans and Fort Stockton,” said boys’ head coach Gaylon Doan. “We’ve just got to play for pars and not be happy with bogeys.”

Individually, Nathan Duke and Heath Armstrong tied for low score over the 36-holes of play, Duke with an 88-81-169 and Armstrong with an 82-87-169 total. “Nathan Duke played well on Saturday ad Heath Armstrong played good on Friday. They’re our two older kids. Some of the others were a little wall-eyed, because it was their first tournament at this level.” They were followed by Richard Dutchover, who shot 87s both days for a 174 score; Coe Duke, who had a 91-89-180 total, and Mateo Tarango, who shot a 96-102-198.

Doan said Duke, Armstrong and Tarango also competed in the Alpine tournament. “The wins were gusting 35, 40, 45 mph and Nathan shot an 81, which shows he can shoot the low numbers. And Heath shot an 87, so he also can shoot in the 70s.

“We need our top two golfers in the 70s and our next two in the 80s if we’re going to go to regionals,” he added.

Duke and Armstrong placed first and second in Alpine, while Taragno shot a 102, and the Eagles’ other two golfers, Dominic Vejil and Manuel Villaneuva, shot 92 and 124 in Monday’s round.

Natividad was the only Eagle girl to make both trips, and shot a 106 in Alpine. Samantha Sparkman’s 95 was the low score for Pecos, while Cynthia Ramirez shot a 108, Rina Pino had a 114 and Heather Matta shot a 123.

“I was really proud of the girls, because it’s not a real easy course in Alpine,” Tina Doan said. “The scores were pretty good for the most part, and I think it will help them when they go to Andrews next week.”

Before then, the varsity girls have a two-round tournament set for Friday and Saturday at Painted Dunes in El Paso. The boys are off this weekend, and return to action on Feb. 15-16, at the Fort Stockton Invitational.

El Paso swimmers to test Pecos at regional

El Paso schools again figure to be the biggest challenges for the Pecos Eagles swim team this weekend in Lubbock, as they compete in the Region I-4A Swimming and Diving Championships at the Pete Ragus Aquatic Center.

Diving was held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, while the swimming preliminaries and finals will be at 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, Eagles’ coach Terri Morse said.

Pecos’ boys are looking to win their eight regional titles in the nine years since Class 4A competition began, but will have to do it without junior diver Hector Roman, who is still recovering after being impaled by a fence pipe in a van accident last Thursday on West ‘F’ Street. Doctors were able to successfully remove the pipe after it crashed through the windshield and went through Roman’s left shoulder, but the injury will prevent him from trying to make a return trip to Austin, where he placed seventh in the Class 4A state finals a year ago.

Roman also was a member of the Eagles’ 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relay teams. “I’ll have to change those up a bit,” Morse said on Monday, as the Eagles will try to maintain their No. 1 seeding in the 200 medley while improving on their No. 3 spot in the 400 freestyle.

El Paso Andress is seeded first and El Paso Del Valle second in that race, and Morse said Andress will be Pecos’ main challenger for the regional title. “The boys are going to be between Pecos and Andress, but I was worried Andress would be a little stronger. They don’t have as many people as I thought,” she said.

“It looks good for us, but that depends on how the kids on the medley relay do. That’s the big thing for us,” Morse said. “I’ve got two individual swimmers who’ll be seeded first in both their events.”

Senior Matthew Florez is seeded first in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle races, while junior Josh Elliott will be seeded No. 1 in the 200 medley and 100-yard backstroke. Florez is just ahead of Big Spring’s Cameron Hughey, who he edged at district, in the 50 free, and was 1 1/2-seconds up on Pampa’s Dennis Colby in the 100 free.

Elliott’s 2:09.51 time in the 200 medley is four seconds ahead of No. 2 seed Chris Price of Abilene Wylie, and his 57.89 time is two seconds better going into the 100 backstroke than Matthew Pearson of El Paso High. The top finishers in each event advance to the Class 4A state finals, while the other eight spots are based on the best times from the eight regional swim meets.

The girls have no No. 1 seeds going into the meet, but Morse was happy with her teams’ seeding in all three relays.

“We’re seeded second in the medley and the 400 free, and the 200 free is seeded pretty good, in fourth place,” she said. Andrews is seeded first by .21 seconds over Pecos in the 200 medley, while the 400 free relay squad comes in seeded just under four seconds in back of El Paso Chapin, which will be trying for its fourth straight Region I-3A title.

Individually, freshmen Conner Armstrong and Alyson Reynolds are seeded second in three of their four events. Armstrong is No. 2 seed behind another freshman, El Paso High’s Gaby Partida, by four seconds in the 100-yard backstroke, and she’s No. 2 in the 100-yard freestyle, three seconds in back of Chapin’s Mackayla Thyfault.

Reynolds goes into the 500 freestyle looking to make up two seconds on No. 1 seed Nancy Gamboa of El Paso Burges. In her other race, the 200 medley, she’s seeded third, behind Partida and district winner Jocelin Drennan of Midland Greenwood, in a race where all four top seeds are ninth graders.

Sophomore Adrianna Roman, at No. 4 seed in the 200 and 500 free, and junior Niki Lindemann, seeded just behind Armstrong in the 100 free and sixth in the 50 free, are the other girls seeded in the Top 6 going into Friday’s prelims, while on the boys’ side, Luke Serrano is seeded sixth in the 100 backstroke and in the 500 free, Frankie Morin, Edward Navarro and Gus Mendoza are seeded fifth through seventh.

Pecos will still have one diver entered in Thursday’s regionals in Sammy Sandoval, who placed third at district. Other than Andrews’ girls medley relay team, the only other No. 1 seed out of District 4-4A besides Pecos’ four spots is Drennan, who is seeded first in the 100-yard butterfly.

Eagle girls host Crane in scrimmage

The Pecos Eagles softball team will get in their second and final preseason scrimmage on Saturday morning, when they host the Crane Golden Cranes starting at 11 a.m. at the Pecos High School softball field.

It will be the second scrimmage in as many Saturdays for the Eagles and Cranes, who scrimmaged in Crane a week ago. Pecos starts its 2008 season next Friday, with a game in Kermit. Eagles’ coach Tammy Walls may not have all her players for that game, as Pecos awaits a time and place for their Class 3A area round basketball playoff game next week. But Walls did have her players available for last Saturday’s scrimmage and will have most out again this Saturday against the Cranes.

“We looked pretty good. I had most everybody out, so we got to look at everyone,” Walls said. “I definitely saw some good things, and I also saw some things we needed to work on.” Among the things Walls said looked good was catcher, where junior Brittany Palomino was tried out, after returning catcher Claire Weinacht was lost for the season due to a knee injury suffered last month while skiing. “She was very strong, and she has a knowledge of the game, so that’s going to help,” the Eagles’ coach said of Palomino, who played second base last season.

Walls said junior Gabby Garcia and freshman Krystal Ramirez pitched for Pecos. Garcia was the Eagles’ No. 2 pitcher a year ago, and Walls said, “She was throwing the ball really hard.”

“Hitting we looked pretty good, but I don’t want to jinx us. We were having the hitters work on their short game, and Ali Salcido was 5-for-5 working on just slapping at the ball, so if she can do that during the season, that will be a big asset for us.” Walls said.

While the girls play their final softball scrimmage on Saturday, the Eagle boys will hold their first and only preseason baseball scrimmage on Monday, at 5 p.m. in Kermit. Coach Eric Garcia’s team opens the season a week later with a home game against Greenwood, while the Pecos Eagle Alumni Game will be next Friday at the Pecos High School baseball field.

Panthers use quick start to fly past Eagles

Things got out of control in a hurry for the Pecos Eagles on Tuesday night in Fort Stockton, after they allowed the district-leading Panthers to get their running game going at the Williams Center.

The Panthers outscored the Eagles 17-0 over the final 5 1/2 minutes of the opening period to go from a 2-2 tie to a 19-2 lead, then added on to their margin in the second half before finishing with a 64-39 victory to clinch their third straight trip to the playoffs.

“We had our shots inside, but when you’re shooting 25 percent in the paint you’re not going to win,” said Eagles’ coach Sammy Soliz. “We should be up around 75 percent in there.

“We had a couple of costly turnovers here and there and let them get running. We just did not have the same enthusiasm we had for Monahans,” he added.

The Panthers weren’t converting on their contested shot chances at the outset of the game. They managed a pair of free throws by Lambert Gonzales, which were then matched by Pecos’ J.R. Lujan. But the Eagles then began turning the ball over or getting only one shot each time downcourt, which led to a series of fast breaks by the Panthers. Sergio Corral had a trio of baskets, Gonzales added two lay-ups and Joe Daniel Granado hit the first of his two 3-point shots as part of the 17-0 run that finally ended when Chris Sotelo got inside for Pecos’ first basket of the game with 7:08 left in the second quarter.

Granado answered with his second 3-pointer, but the Eagles were able to match the Panthers in scoring during the period. Lujan found openings for a series of lay-ups as part o a game-high 22 points, and Pecos left the quarter trailing by a 28-13 score.

But the Panthers put any hopes the Eagles had of a second half comeback away in the third period. The Panthers came up with another series of turnovers to go on a 20-7 run over a 6 1/2 minute stretch, which included two 3-point baskets by Trey Cantu and two dunks off steals by Gonzales.

The Panthers’ forward also had a series of rebound lay-ups in the second half as part of his 16 points, and Soliz said most of those were due to better effort by Gonzales.

“The rebounding for us was non-existent tonight,” he said. “We got a couple here and there, but rebounding is just about wanting to play and doing everything you can to get the ball. That was just us getting beat out there.”

“Number 34 (Gonzales) just wanted the ball and got it off his jump. He’s not that tall, and if we just were boxing out, he wouldn’t get there,” Soliz added. “We tried all our defenses to try and force them into an uncomfortable situation, but we let them get too many chances.”

Lujan got Pecos back to within 23 with six straight points to end the third period, and the Eagles would end the game with a 9-4 run, after the Panthers at one point widened their margin to 30 late in the fourth quarter.

Corral ended up leading Fort Stockton in scoring with 17, while no other Eagle besides Lujan had more than five. The win improved the Panthers to 14-10 on the season and 4-0 in District 2-3A, while Pecos fell to 5-19 and 0-4 in district.

The Eagles’ hopes of advancing to the playoffs rest on winning their two remaining district games, at Presidio on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and at home to Monahans on Feb. 12, and then needing a win by Fort Stockton over the Panthers or Blue Devils to force a playoff for third place. Presidio tied Monahans for second in the 2-3A standings on Tuesday night, with a 62-46 victory.

Eagles cage Prowlers, grab district hoops title

The Pecos Eagle girls made sure there wasn’t going to be any suspense about winning their first outright district basketball championship in 38 years on Tuesday night in Fort Stockton.

The Eagles, who missed a chance to clinch the District 2-3A title last Friday in Monahans, made sure they wouldn’t have to worry about a first place playoff with the Loboes for the second year in a row, as they jumped out to a big early lead on the Prowlers and went on to score a 55-31 victory at the Williams Center, in their final regular season game.

“We just shot well tonight,” said Eagles’ coach Donna Gent, as the Eagles won their first undisputed title since 1970 and their first-ever outright district girls’ title since 5-on-5 play began in 1977. “We were relaxed. The girls came over here with a mission to come back home with the district championship and they accomplished that.”

“I felt like our press worked well, especially in the first half,” she said. The Eagles forced the Prowlers into turnovers on their first four possessions, turning two of those into free throws by Gabby Garcia and Diana Parada in the first minute of play.

Garcia would score nine of the Eagles’ first 12 points, while Jasmine Rayos would have two baskets and Brittany Palomino a 3-pointer in the opening quarter, which ended with the Eagles up 17-7.

The Prowlers, who had managed just 16 points in the teams’ first meeting of the season, were still down by 10 early in the second period when Pecos went on a 15-2 run to close out the half. Rayos and Palomino hit 3s around a lay-up by Garcia, and after a lay-up by Fort Stockton’s Kryshna Alfaro, Pecos closed the half with two baskets and three foul shots by Kristen Ikeler and Catherine Moore.

“Everyone played well tonight, even the ones off the bench,” Gent said, though she wasn’t happy with the start of the third period, when the Eagles were the ones running into turnover problems.

“We had five turnovers immediately in the second half, and after the fifth turnover, I called a time-out and said ‘no more’,” she said.

Pecos wouldn’t score for the first three minutes of the third period, until Garcia converted a three-point play. But the Prowlers only managed a jumper by Mary Gonzales during that same span, and Pecos’ lead would grow to as many as 26 points late in the period, at 43-17. That would also be the Eagles’ biggest lead of the night, as the teams traded points for the final 10 minutes of the game.

Garcia ended up leading the Eagles with 22 points, while Rayos had 12 for Pecos. Alfaro’s 11 points topped Fort Stockton, which ended up 1-5 in district and missed out of the playoffs for the second year in a row in 2-3A play. The win improved the Eagles to 12-12 on the season and allowed them to close out district play with a 5-1 record, one game up on Monahans, which defeated Presidio by a 47-41 score on Tuesday night.

The victory also earned Pecos a first round bye, and they’ll now await the winner of the bi-district round match-up between Seminole and Greenwood, which will be on Monday at Odessa College. Gent said the area round game will also be in Odessa, either next Thursday or Friday at a site to be determined.

Before then, Gent said the Eagles would play a playoff practice game against Buena Vista, starting at 6 p.m. on Friday at Imperial High School.

Pecos also took Tuesday’s season-ending junior varsity game, by a 39-29 score.

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